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This question strangely still evokes anxiety. It remains one invested with variable beliefs in cultural superiority (ie the primarcy of the Greeks), the central importance of Europeans, Asians, etc. Were black Africans involved in the creation of the early Egyptian society, certainly as its beginnings (the emergence of the two kingdoms) were in Upper Egypt, near Nubia, rather than Lower Egypt, the Delta region.
Shaw, Ian. Egypt and the Outside World. 2002. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt.
There are a number of ways in which we can define the ancient Egyptians themselves as a distinct racial and ethnic group, but the question of their roots a nd their sense of their own identity has provoked considerable debate. Linguistically, they belonged to the Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) family, but this is simply another way of saying that, as their geographical position implies, their language had some similarities to contemporary languages both in parts of Asia and in the Near East.
This, in some ways, is a Colonialist and Post-Colonialist debate, one that so far, although easily answered, has had no resolution. It should really not bother us. There is evidence that the early Sumerian population spoke several languages, one indeed possibly related to old Indian languages of the time. Nevertheless, Ian Shaw felt the need to include it in his lengthy academic discussion on Ancient Egyptian history.
As historians, will have to look at the facts and use them to better understand the beginnings of urban life.
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Of course, AE was too, a result of diverse peoples coming together at some point in time. Its not as if, all converged at time zero with no indigenous or host communities on the ground. AE was culturally, economically, religiously and militarily a "super power" that had existed prior to coming of all the rest. The question is, how far back in time (deep history) can we go to get the "first people"?
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A mummy is the body of a person (or an animal) that has been preserved after death. ... The Egyptians believed that when they died, they would make a journey to another world where they would lead a new life.
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There are lots of evidence that the pyramids stones are man-made (synthetic, artificial), Cast in molds. Now my question is how they synthesis that in those days. Is there enough technical knowledge to develop that ideas? What about the Mix-design of it? I want elaborate discussion on it.
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Dear Shahrior,
Prof Davidovits has already demonstrated the system and well explained the mix design used for Pyramids construction. You can find the video that he and his team have made at Geopolymer Institute Saint Quentin en Picardie wearing ancient clothes “Egyptian style” to show how was feasible to realize big size of blocks, using wood moulds and a recipe with humid earth consistency. Find this video on YouTube , it’s in French but images explain better than words.
There is also a book that Davidovits wrote about this topic , where is reported the recipe used for Pyramids using old raw materials. Find this book at selling section of Geopolymer Institute site (www.geopolymer.org) . Enjoy the vision.
All best
Alex Reggiani
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I was wondering about the geology of Egyptian tombs and karstic environments in Egypt more generally.
Are many Egyptian tombs contained within karst environments? Have speleothems ever been found formed within said tombs?
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Dear Dr. Jacobson,
There are speleothems in tomb TT 33 (mainly in room XIII), located on the west bank of Luxor (Asasif necropolis), dated to the 7th Century BC.
- Some speleothems can be distinguished on this photo (ceiling) :
- Maps of the tomb :
- Location of the tomb :
- Geological context of the Theban Necropolis (Tarawan Chalk) :
Yours sincerely,
Isabelle Régen.
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Compared to extremely unhealthy recommendations by English doctors in Shakespeare's time (discouraging baths, blood-letting), Ancient Egyptians had an extremely sophisticated understanding of the cardiovascular system, surgery and appropriate herbal medicines still in use and effective today. Why were European doctors so far behind African advancements in medicine?
Ancient African Women's Rights and Lifestyle:
Until recent Suffrage Laws, modern women in American and European cultures had very few rights compared to women in Africa during Europe's Dark Ages. Why is it taking several centuries for Europeans and Americans to accomplish what Africans accomplished thousands of years ago?
The respect accorded to women in ancient Egypt is evident in almost every aspect of the civilization from the religious beliefs to social customs. The gods were both male and female, and each had their own equally important areas of expertise. Women could marry who they wanted and divorce those who no longer suited them, could hold what jobs they liked - within limits - and travel at their whim.
Why is it that European and American scientists still do not know how ancient Africans built the Giza Pyramid?:
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On the East coast there was certainly urban development although Zimbabwe, an important city, was not built until about the 14th century. But in truth, archaeology is lacking for many parts of sub-Saharan Africa as nobody has expected or expects anything. Mali of course was then a rich and influential state. Famously, the Moors arrived in Spain from Morocco and other parts of Northern Africa and built one of the outstanding civilisations of the time.
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This question with its answer is important in my science of ancient Egypt topic...where it is confirmed by many texts, and I'm looking for many proofs from the high tech science to show their innovation.
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Seed germination is controlled by many factors, temperature is one. John Harper referred to seed dormancy coming in three different forms: some species seed's are 'born' dormant, some 'achieve' dormancy and some have dormancy 'thrust upon' them - very Shakespearean. One fairly common method to break a seed's dormancy is to chill or freeze the seed. Change in daylight is probably the most important factor controlling germination and seed dormancy.
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This is a continuously contested issue, which at present seems unlikely to be fully resolved.
Were the Sea-People Greek or made up of peoples from further afield (Sardinia, for example), part of general movement of people as a consequence of famine or climate change, from western Anatolia or the direct result of the breakdown of elite control of Eastern and Mycenaean societies, or of economic reasons we still cannot grasp? Were they immediately responsible for the re-organisation of states and political institutions that witnessed possible changes in Canaan and the rise of theocracies (Judah and Israel-ok more Judah)?
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My research into the Two United Kingdoms of Israel and Judah has given me a deeper understanding of this matter. The Sea Peoples mainly came from Greece, some from Europe proper, Anatolia and Cypress. It was a phenomenon over a century with different episodes-some so-called Sea Peoples fighting as mercenaries alongside the Egyptians and then Lybians. The migration at the time of Ramesses III was made up of Greeks, their families, Anatolians and Sikils (possibly later Sicilian). We know at at roughly the same time Greece became depopulated in some areas.
The Sea Peoples, possibly repulsed by Ramesses III, set up states in present day Lebanon and Northern Israel. One of those small states was Dan, the home of Samson, by the Danuna-probably Greek. The others were the Philistines, who may have wiped out the Canaanites when they arrived (exodus and Joshua perhaps?)
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A quote from 'Religions of the Ancient Near East ', Daniel C. Snell. 2011. page 5.
'Polytheisms do not tend to be interested in orthodoxy, and they are frequently open to new customs and gods.'
The writer references Hinduism, which he suggests has solidified its teachings and regulised the way it talks about religious phenomena due to its proximity to monotheistic religions.
Some polythiestic religions such as in Ancient Egypt, had concepts of the divine that clearly influenced monotheism but retained cultured societies concerned with virtue. As did many Ancient Greek societies. Monotheistic religions centralise and fossalise thought and behaviour, tend to be incapable of accepting other views and often, but not althoughs, tolerate violence.
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Yes, Amir. But I hold by my statement that these societies were more virtuous, open-minded and civilised. Islam, Christianity (very different in its approach to the other two) and Judaism conform to the highly dubious material in the Old Testament, historically unlikely, and morally dubious. Although each is monotheistic, each seems nevertheless to worship very different gods.
Of course the Sumerian Temples were greedy and perhaps continuously engaged in power struggles with kings, but they also provided the first known welfare state, tending to citizen's needs. In ancient Egypt priests were not professional as they are in the monotheistic states, but were consistently lay, amongst the most intelligent 'men' of their time. Also, they did not claim to possess unassailable knowledge like monotheistic priests do while adding little to general knowledge.
Archangels? Surely a Sumerian invention (one of many), a different species to humankind and evidence for my last point here: they are not monotheistic but kings/emperors with courts. Archangels! Whoa, not for me!
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Dear Scientists,
We doing research  ''Was Obesity Prevalent in Ancient Egypt''? In a time with no machinery, no sedentary life ( pyramids took about 30 years to be  built,  and no famous fast food resturants). Also plenty of fruits and vegetables, and bread high in fiber.  We have got little evidence of the presence of obesity in ancient Egypt even the mummy of Hatshepsut that claimed to have  obesity and diabetes was not the queen's but  it was KV20 ( a foster mother that hired  for breast feeding to babies). I would like to share your knowledge and experience with references.
Thank you for sharing
Aly R Abdel-Moemin
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Senior officials were sometimes portrayed with extra rolls of fat, showing that they were successful, had access to plenty of food, and did not have to engage in physical labor.  See the statue of Hemiunu, for example, from the time of Khufu; the sculptor was very accurate in showing his double chin, heavy shoulders, and the fat around his middle--a back view of the statue is particularly impressive, as pointed out by Edna Russmann!  Similarly, in the Old Kingdom tomb of Qar and Idu, one of these men is shown in his slender, youthful phase and also--a different aspect of the same person--as an overweight middle-aged man.  In fact, some officials may have been portrayed with a bit of extra weight simply as a marker of their eminence, not necessarily reflecting their real appearance.
Also, a number of mummies of upper-class New Kingdom individuals, both male and female, indicate that these people were well-nourished and probably not very physically active.  One of the early 18th Dynasty princesses was described as having been quite heavy (although that description was from Eliot Smith's catalogue and relied on visual examination only--it's not always straightforward to draw conclusions about a person's weight from the appearance of his or her mummy).  Some mummies show evidence of physical conditions, such as arterial disease, often related to overweight and a rich diet.  If they were members of high-ranking priestly families, they would have been able to feast on large amounts of meat, pastries, and so forth.  (The temple of Karnak had a pastry chef on the staff.)
On the other hand, the Spanish team working at Aswan has found that even members of elite families sometimes show evidence that they had survived periods of inadequate nutrition.
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Three Egyptian texts come to mind, the Akhmim Wooden Tablet, 1950 BCE, the Kahun Papyrus,18000 BCE and the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, 1650 BCE, discussed by: https://www.academia.edu/24746984/ABSTRACT_SCRIBAL_MULTIPLICATION_AND_DIVISION_An_Update
Any other examples out there? Thanks.
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Abstact math was first defined by rational numbers n/p scaled by LCM m/m to mn/mp so that the best divisors of mp summed to man recorded in red auxiliary numbers. Final unit fraction series were recorded form right to left ciphered onto hieratic sound symbols, Ionian and Dorian alphabets when the abstract notation was adopted by Greeks 1500 years later. The EMLR and RMP 2/n table selections of LCMs are included in the linked paper, written in 2011.
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The British Museum unrolled a 26 problem hieratic text in 1927, and missed the abstract arithmetic used therein, such as 1/8 = 1/25 + 1/15 + 1/75 + 1/200 that scaled 1/8(25/25) = (8 + 17)/200 = 1/25 + (17/200)(5/5) = 102/1200 = 1/25 + (80 + 16 + 6)/1200 = 1/25 + 1/15 + 1/75 + 1/200. A set of closely related 2/n table and hekat facts were not reported well by Chace in 1927, Gillings in 1972, nor by Claggett in 1999. The 2/n table used one LCM to scale 2/5, 2/7, 2/9, ..., 2/101. The two LCM scaling method was used over 80 times in the RMP, and five times in the Akhmim Wooden Tablet that exactly scaled the hekat by (64/64) and (5/5).
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Paired multiplication and division operations were recorded in hieratic hekat partitions by.  (64/64) x  1/3 = 21/64 + 1/192(5/5) = (16 + 4 + 1)/64 + 5/3 (1/320) = (1/4  + 1/16 + 1/64)hekat + (1+ 2/2) to, since to = 1/320 of a hekat.  A 1900 BCE scribe proved his answer correct BT multiplying the teopart quotient and remained answer by 3 obtaining (64/64). As Hana Vymazalova ppublished in 2002, thereby directing the cubit scaling attempt of Daresay in 1906. Note that multiplication and vision were inverse operations to each other, the same algebraic relationship that exists in base 10 decimal arithneetc. 
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I'm looking at dental attrition in Egyptian mummies using x rays, I want to find other examples of x rays that show abscesses, severe attrition. I have found a few mentioning them or showing the odd image but they are mainly non royal. But I would prefer a database so I can have comparison images. If they are not x rays or CT's it's not important, as long as they are royal or elite Egyptian mummies because that is what my research is based on.
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thank you for the link
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This is an old kingdom mummy these are the only bone of the foot I have, cannot understand the cause of this polishing. Sadly the photo does not do it justice.
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Eburnation is typically indicative of osteoarthritis. The aetiology of OA is multifactorial. Women are especially vulnerable to the condition post menopause due to the hormonal changes. It is also associated with load bearing joints - so perhaps this suggests strenuous physical activity on behalf of the individual, particularly through this area of the foot.
As for the actual polishing of the bone, it is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of the joint. Osteoblasts then respond by depositing subchondral bone (sclerosis), which eventually leads to bone-to-bone contact. This produces the polished effect you can seen on the joint surface.
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Does any disagree with the 1900 decoding of the text that reported an inverse proportion was used for solutions to two second degree equations as well as a pesu unit that exactly measured the grain present in a loaf bread or a glass of beer
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Oops, the Berlin Papyrus was published in 1863, not 1963 ...
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I have been researching ancient Egyptian dental affinities with another colleague, but am specifically interested in both ancient and modern malocclusion and their genetic components.
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The influence of heredity in the occurrence of Class III malocclusion has been widely reported.
In 1970 Litton et, al studied the families of 51 individuals with this problem found that the anomaly was present in 13 % of blood relatives to find their relationship with inheritance in offspring and siblings in greater number compared with other malocclusions and reported that siblings usually show similar types of malocclusion assessment so that older siblings can supply , possibly a clue to the need for intervention of early treatment of malocclusion .
Probably the most famous brand of human genetic sample that is transmitted through many generations, the pedigree of the mandible in the Hapsburg family , which is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait is in the Austrian / Hungarian monarchy.
Regarding the prevalence of this type of malocclusion , reports vary between different ethnic groups. Sometimes the rate may increase significantly in isolated geographic areas where abundant consanguinity . In Asian societies the frequency is high .
If something is not clarified your question
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This is a skeleton of an old kingdom mummy, my colleagues and I had noticed the roots of the teeth mainly in the maxilla have developed these mineral growths. It seems to have occurred primarily on the molars but there are also signs of it on the premolars. We believe this is due to the body reacting with the natron salt.
Any advice would be helpful.
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Image for Catherine and Mandana !
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I'm doing research on Egyptian mummies. These particular mummies I have put on previous posts haven't been studied in great depth. So any suggestions on the x rays will be much appreciated.
According to a book written on this mummy it suggests that this one has calcification of the costal cartilages, but I'm not sure whether this is what is on the x ray. I have not encountered this so I wouldn't know how to interpret it. I have looked at medical x rays online that show costal cartilages but these are much clearer x rays.
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Catherine-
I am a practicing radiologist, and would add a few comments to those above.
First, I do not see any costal cartilage calcification. Starting from the first rib and moving inferiorly, each anterior rib terminates a little farther from the sternum, with cartilage making up the difference. Cartilage is normally radiolucent. Thus, the anterior end of each rib should appear farther from the sternum as you move from top to bottom, since you cannot see its accompanying cartilage. That is exactly how this appears.
Second, costal cartilage does not normally calcify until the 5th or 6th decade of life, at least enough so that it is visible on a radiograph. If the mummy's age at death is known, and I suspect people died relatively young during this period, he or she may be too young to have any expected costal cartilage, barring some unusual disease.
As to the densities seen on each side, that on the mummy's left (our right) is clearly artificial, such as linen suggested by several here. That on the mummy's right (our left), may represent a calcified organ, such as a partially collapsed lung, but is non-specific. Note that there is also radiodense material projecting over the abdominal cavity.
A lateral view would likely not help with costal cartilage calcification (too much overlap of structures). However, a lateral view would help determine whether these other densities described above are in the thorax and abdomen, or behind/in front of the body. Perhaps you have a photo or description of the body that tells you whether there was such material adjacent to the body. I suspect the radiograph would not have been taken without removing such objects, but what do I know about taking a radiograph of a mummy?
Hope that is a little helpful.
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I have been trying to locate some radiography databases for my research on the sample I have of Egyptian mummies. So far the only site I have found is IMPACT which does not work, does anyone know of any other sites that have x rays, CT's or even just skeletal images of mummies?
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Hi Catherine,
I have some x-ray and ct-scan of roman mummies if it interest you. I think that in the Vatican Laboratories they could have records of x-ray of egyptian mummies because have a discrete collection of their.
M
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I am researching mummies and have come across this weird circular anomaly on my x ray of a humerus. I thought it was interesting and noticed the septal aperture I wondered is this anomaly part of it? I have asked colleagues some say septal aperture others say fracture.
(the nail is part of the coffin the mummy is in)
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Hello Catherine,
It's a septal aperture. European (6%- rare); mongoloid (13%) more common and (15 à 20%) for negroid. More frequent on the right side that on the left one and in females that in males. More frequent in ancient populations (prehistoric and protohistoric periods). Very frequent in Anthropoids. In human subjects seems to be linked with the possibility of flexion-extension elbow movments and the relative lenght of forearm vs arm.
Best regards. PhiL.
P.S. Thanks a lot for your note about "the nail"! Osteosynthesis materiel will arrive "a little bit" later!
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I've asked a few academics about this image they all said different things be it a non metric trait or pathology. If anyone can take a look and shed some light on what this may be. The nail on the image is part of the coffin it had it's x rays in. This image has zoomed in and looks like a little face, any suggestions would be welcomed. I've been trying to confirm this pathology but I have had some say it's a fracture, a humeral aperture or supra-trochlear humerus.
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Osteochondroma is a tempting idea, but without a lateral film (or better yet a CT), it is impossible to tell if the structure superimposed on the olecranon fossa/foramen is even in the same plane as the elbow (just like the coffin nail/radius relationship).
Dislodged teeth resting in the abdomen, in a mummy that's been handled roughly like this, are not uncommon. It does look like there's been a lot of alveolar resorption in the mandible and maxilla, though, so lateral X-rays would be a help there, too.
Transporting the mummy to a hospital for an X-ray may be beyond your permissions and funding, but there are pretty straightforward ways to X-ray the mummy in place. I'd recommend having a look at Gerald Conlogue and Ron Beckett's Paleoimaging: Field Applications for Cultural Remains and Artifacts and renting a portable X-ray unit for an afternoon (or even contacting a large-animal veterinarian about borrowing their portable X-ray unit).
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I have been looking at ancient Egyptian mummy x rays some are good quality and some are very poor, I am trying to find out estimate ages for them. So far I can only assess ages in children because of tooth development, after the 3rd molar appears its difficult to determine age especially when cusp wear cannot be seen on the majority of my x rays. Also to note I cannot measure the x rays as I have taken photographs of them or have been given them on a disc.
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Regretfully, no, or very rough estimation. We do just limit ourselves on other signs and often are forced to state "adult"...